Saturday 31st October 1846

“Had the unpleasant job to discharge James Hollingsworth from his employment as screener through repeatedly absenting himself.  But he saw and promised the master better attendance in future upon which a reconciliation was effected and he was permited to resume his employment.

The front of Buckingham Palace presents a different appearance from the commencement of the month [?] being encircled with boarding which extends round the front rails as far distant as the semi-circular pathway. The palace is to be enlarged which from the continued cart loads of rubble taken away and the cart loads of bricks taken in appears that the alterations to be undertaken will be very extensive.

The exterior and interior of St James’s Church Piccadilly is now undergoing a thorough repair and beautifying the windows of which are nearly half fresh glazed, which suffered extensively from the effects of the late storm.  The foundation of the new Rectory house on the same site as the old one is just commenced.

The gallery or bridge in Richmond Mews, Richmond Buildings, back of our house which … Pianoforte maker to the premises opposite has been roofed over with glass.

The weather this month has shown appearance of the approaching winter with … fogs which last 10 days has been very prevalent.”

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Wednesday 30th September 1846

The statue of the Duke of Wellington has arrived at its destination at the top of the Triumphal Arch opposite St George’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner. I was there before 7 o’clock in the morning and had a fine view of the statue as it stood on the ground, and a splendid thing it is too. I went again at midday, but it was in the same place, only that it was turned round. I went again at night after business and it was then suspended nearly its full height, when I saw it drawn higher and finally wheeled on the arch, the apparatus moving with it. The scaffolding is a grand affair and has been above three months erecting.

The weather this month has been changeable, the former part to about the 20th intensely warm, like the middle of July, when it changed to almost winter. At present being so cold in the morning early that I am glad to wear gloves.

At the present time is being razed to the ground … old fabric the rectory of St James Piccadilly, corner of Church Place, which has stood about 160 years and was stated in the newspaper to have been one of Sir Christopher Wren’s architecture. It was built with red bricks and at the side had circular windows and in front sashes of immense thickness, the upper ones opening on hinges with diamond panes. The lower windows strongly … with iron bars; the cisterns were visible … Court, as also the water closet.”

Sunday 19th July 1846

“Rose at half past 5 o’clock, breakfasted, and prepared for journey to Richmond. Started and got as far as Lambeth when, rain coming on, I turned into a coffee shop, No 37 High Street. The clouds gathering thick, I turned back and was caught in a shower. Reached home 10 minutes past 10 o’clock. Started soon afterwards for the church of St Margaret Pattens, Rood Lane, Eastcheap. Dinner cold beef and cucumber.  Stopped at home all the afternoon looking over maps and books. Going to church this morning, I saw that a fire had broke out in the premises 76 Newgate Street, corner of Bath Street, City, which had broke out in the lower premises and, strange to say, had but little damaged the first floor while the upper ones were completely gutted (it was a coffee shop). — Expected Ann after, but was disappointed, she having gone to Tottenham Chapel instead, which was the best act. — After tea went into Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, to see the new church (just consecrated). Flocks of persons waiting before the doors were open to see the interior, and many were turned back, but I succeeded in getting admitted. It is certainly somewhat of a novelty in the build, but it is visible that economy has been the chief thing studied, combined with a little elegance. The pews are very plain and somewhat singular, having such low doors to them as almost to lead one to believe they were free. The pulpit is let in the wall in a singular way; the gallery seemed to me to be very dark, though built in a light style. Made my exit before service commenced and returned home.  Went to Serpentine and bathed therein, accompanied by Matthew Ward. It was half past 9 before I got there and every bather was gone, so I had it to myself. Had pint beer and biscuits in Dover Street, Piccadilly.”


[Editor’s note: No entries on 20 or 21 July]

Sunday 12th July 1846

“Up at half past 5, prepared for long journey. Breakfasted at home and afterwards started half past 7 o’clock for Harrow, through Kilburn, Willesden, Neasden, Kingsbury to Harrow. Arrived at the church as the clock struck twelve; walked about churchyard taking down a few inscriptions from tombs until half past 1 o’clock, when I went into the church and was shown over every part of it by the door keeper or church manager (an elderly gent, a more civil and obliging man I never met with). He, seeing my taste for antiquities, humoured my fancy and was not sparing of trouble neither, a brief account which I will give. He first showed me the age of the doors and locks, the keys whereof were ponderous, with curious wards. Next the tomb of a brother and sister kneeling, painted alabaster, date 1609. Then the pews which were put up in the reign of James I, but some of the seats for poor folk were about as old as the church. The ceiling was carved wood with the twelve apostles with their faces sawed off in the time of Cromwell. Then some brasses on pavement, the oldest … of Edward III. Left Harrow at 3 o’clock and dined on bread and meat.  Arrived home by Harrow Road at 9 o’clock, walked in all … .”